The electricity has been back on across storm-damage areas of Iowa for awhile now, but the work for electric crews isn’t over. Ann Foster is the director of communications for the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives. Foster says electric co-ops and other utility companies have a lot of work to do as many of the fixes were temporary and crews have to make them more permanent.
One of the biggest problems in the rural areas was large stretches of power poles that were broken off by ice and wind. Foster says they had a combination of pole replace and some temporary replacements to get the power back on. Foster says they’ll be able to put in new poles as the thaw continues. Foster says the damage and extra hours of work to fix everything will be costly.
She says the preliminary damage estimates for the electric co-ops is 32-million dollars. Foster says the cost will vary among the different co-ops with one of the worst hit in northcentral Iowa. Foster says Franklin County R-E-C saw 94-percent of its system lose power in the first storm. Foster says the second storm had more snow damage in the western side of the state, while the ice did the majority of damage in the first storm. Over 300,000 Iowans, including co-op customers, were without power after the two storms.